I knew that Stockholm was having a street festival today, but I didn’t look up where it would be. I figured that if we happened to walk into it, great; if not, oh well. After a day of walking to and around parks in a fruitless attempt to find a beach, B and I were museum-bound. But as we came out of the subway, we noticed that the street was closed off to traffic. We had accidentally walked into it!
First, we walked through a row of food trucks, just like ones we’d see at home. And pricing that was just as silly: a chicken wrap was $10! They had clearly been popular all day, as one truck had ‘sold out’ signs on most of its menu items. Next, we walked through a kids area. First, there were kids hula hooping to some light trance-style music. Then, there were kids attempting to play ping pong, despite a notable wind. And then, there were kids sitting and playing. In each group, I only noticed about one adult, and the kids were very clearly from different families. In light of that, I assumed that ‘helicopter parenting’ hasn’t yet made it to Sweden.
Finally, we reached the stage, where a DJ was spinning, people were dancing, and a number of flags were being waved. There were quite a few women, alone and with friends, who were grooving, most of them successfully. The music had a great beat for dancing, and the in-between commentary was luckily quite short, especially since it seemed as opaque to the Swedes as it was to me. The crowd right by the stage was close, but friendly, and no one seemed to be paying anyone else any mind.
The only person anyone noticed was a girl of about eight, standing on something resembling a light pole in the middle of the street. She was waving a Swedish flag, with much enthusiasm and newbie-ness. The guys on stage, who turned out to be called Mosquito, called her up there and handed her their flag – the Jamaican one, to waive instead. Her enthusiasm for this task was similar, but her grip was not as good: she needed to choke up on the handle. Without that, the flag got caught and dragged quite a bit, though the little girl soldiered on. (It was unclear if she had any parents with her, further supporting my anti-helicopter parenting theory.)
It turned out to be a monthly DJ performance, and not the street festival. However, it reminded me of the street fair I had gone to in Philly, just a few months back. The stage, the food trucks, the atmosphere: turns out some things really are universal.